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Cause and Effect

A.J. Ayer, 15 October 1981

Hume and the Problem of Causation 
by Tom Beauchamp and Alexander Rosenberg.
Oxford, 327 pp., £15, August 1981, 0 19 520236 8
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The Science of Legislator: The Natural Jurisprudence of David Hume and Adam Smith 
by Knud Haakonssen.
Cambridge, 240 pp., £17.50, September 1981, 0 521 23891 9
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... stodgy reading, is that with the exception of my own little book on Hume, in the OUP ‘Past Masters’ series – which, since they pay attention to my other writings, I take to have appeared only after their manuscript was completed – there is practically no modern contribution either to the philosophy of Hume or to the topic of causality that they ...

Changing the law

Paul Foot, 26 July 1990

A Radical Lawyer in Victorian England: W.P. Roberts and the Struggle for Workers’ Rights 
by Raymond Challinor.
Tauris, 302 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 1 85043 150 7
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... W.P. Roberts out of his element. He found himself openly flouted by the miners’ leaders, led by Alexander MacDonald and his friends from the professions and the boardrooms. Perhaps the most remarkable part of this remarkable story is the way this apparently indestructible lawyer pursued his campaign in the courts and through the courtroom window through ...

Ramadan Nights

Robert Irwin: How the Koran Works, 7 August 2003

The Koran 
translated by N.J. Dawood.
Penguin, 464 pp., £7.99, January 2003, 0 14 044920 5
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... world I had grown up in, I tried to supply my own explanations, based partly on my reading of Sufi masters, but also on a half-baked knowledge of existentialism, Zen Buddhism and the ethos of Kerouac’s Dharma Bums. Only slowly over the decades was this exciting approach to reading a major religious text replaced by more academic strategies. (I ...


John Lloyd: The Russian reformers’ new party, 15 July 1999

... because they have produced so few rewards for the many and so much corrupt wealth for the few. Alexander Yakovlev, the great liberalising force of the Gorbachev years, thanks to his brief in the Politburo – Ideology – took the podium first. His limp is one of the rare memories nowadays of the Great Patriotic War. The Communists and nationalists who ...

The Rack, the Rapier, the Ruff and the Fainting Nun

Nicholas Penny: Manet/Velázquez, 10 July 2003

Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting 
by Gary Tinterow and Geneviève Lacambre et al.
Yale, 592 pp., £50, March 2003, 0 300 09880 4
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... Although an important aim of the exhibition was to explore the influence of the Spanish Old Masters – and their successor Goya – on modern French painting, we quickly realise that Murillo, who was by far the most admired, and much the most expensive, of the Spanish artists whose work became more available as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, did not ...

Wild Horses

Claude Rawson, 1 April 1983

‘The Bronze Horseman’ and Other Poems 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by D.M. Thomas.
Penguin, 261 pp., £2.95, September 1982, 0 14 042309 5
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Alexander Pushkin: A Critical Study 
by A.D.P. Briggs.
Croom Helm, 257 pp., £14.95, November 1982, 0 7099 0688 9
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‘Choiseul and Talleyrand’: A Historical Novella and Other Poems, with New Verse Translations of Alexander Pushkin 
by Charles Johnston.
Bodley Head, 88 pp., £5.25, July 1982, 0 370 30924 3
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Mozart and Salieri: The Little Tragedies 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by Antony Wood.
Angel, 94 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 02 6
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I have come to greet you 
by Afanasy Fet, translated by James Greene.
Angel, 71 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 03 4
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Uncollected Poems 
by John Betjeman.
Murray, 81 pp., £4.95, September 1982, 0 7195 3969 2
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Travelling without a Valid Ticket 
by Howard Sergeant.
Rivelin, 14 pp., £1, May 1982, 0 904524 39 6
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... commanding and melancholy elevation whose cadence is that of the great Romantic and post-Romantic masters of English heroic metre. The idiom of ‘Autumn. A Fragment’ is part Keatsian ode, part Yeatsian high informality, finely and appropriately blended. ‘Demons’ is, perhaps less successfully, rendered in a style of Gothic balladry, mingling spooky ...


E.S. Turner, 4 September 1986

Monty: The Field-Marshal 1944-1976 
by Nigel Hamilton.
Hamish Hamilton, 996 pp., £15, June 1986, 0 241 11838 7
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... the Russians. After the Rhine crossing Eisenhower, without the permission of his political masters, cabled his plans for the final advance to Stalin, infuriating the British Chiefs of Staff – ‘it is not very satisfactory when Ike has to appeal to Stalin to help him control Monty’ (Alan Brooke). Monty, as we know, got as far as Lüneburg ...

Not in a Box

Julian Barnes: Mary Cassatt as Herself, 26 April 2018

Mary Cassatt, une impressioniste americaine a Paris 
Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, until 23 July 2018Show More
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... character; she could afford to visit Rome, Parma, Madrid and the Low Countries in search of great masters. Money is never neutral– as other painters were well aware. Here is Camille Pissarro in Paris reporting to his son Lucien in Bayswater on his visit to ‘Mlle Cassatt’ in April 1891:I want to tell you about the colour prints she is planning to exhibit ...

Faking It

Sam Gilpin: Paul Watkins, 10 August 2000

The Forger 
by Paul Watkins.
Faber, 343 pp., £9.99, July 2000, 0 571 20194 6
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... The Committee handles his boarding fees and pays for tutorials with a famous Russian painter, Alexander Pankratov. David is befriended by an art dealer, Guillaume Fleury, who sells on some of David’s ‘Gauguin’ sketches as originals – without his knowledge. The French police discover the fraud just as the Germans are threatening the city, and David ...

Trapped in Miss America’s Boudoir

Glyn Maxwell, 27 April 2000

... Like, the men of his generation had ‘won’ the world and were giving it to us. They’d made us Masters of the Universe, and it felt, as in the time of Alexander, that what they’d created would last for ever. It didn’t though, did it? Don’t get me started. Four decades later, I think we all agree that a domestic ...

Our Guy

John Barnie: Blair’s Style, 20 January 2011

... The president of Bulgaria is ‘a lovely guy’ and Jean Chrétien ‘a good guy’. Douglas Alexander is ‘a very clever guy’ and José María Aznar ‘a tough guy’ (a mark of approval). Only Gordon Brown – ominously for him – is ‘a strange guy’. Other character assessments are equally breezy. ‘She is a great person, Tessa [Jowell], just ...

Flat-Nose, Stocky and Beautugly

James Davidson: Greek Names, 23 September 2010

A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Vol. V.A Coastal Asia Minor: Pontos to Ionia 
edited by T. Corsten.
Oxford, 496 pp., £125, March 2010, 978 0 19 956743 0
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... Is Born’), so we could refer to famous Greeks as ‘He Who Loves Horses’ (Philip), ‘Masters (with) Horses’ (Hippocrates), ‘Flat-Nose’ (Simon), ‘Stocky’ (Plato), ‘Famed as Wise’ (Sophocles). Like Anglo-Saxon names, Greek names are either dithematic, composed of two elements: aristo (‘best’) and boulos (‘counsel’), Hera (the ...

The Candidate of Beauty

Alexander Stille: D’Annunzio and the Pursuit of Glory, 2 July 1998

Gabriele D’Annunzio: Defiant Archangel 
by John Woodhouse.
Oxford, 420 pp., £25, February 1998, 0 19 815945 5
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... and fishermen, influenced his aristocratic, pseudo-Nietzschean vision of a world divided into masters and slaves. ‘Men will be divided into two races,’ he later wrote: To the superior race, which shall have risen by die pure energy of its will, all shall be permitted; to die lower, nothing or very little. The greatest sum of well-being shall go to ...

Divorce me

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 17 December 1981

Love, Sex, Marriage and Divorce 
by Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy.
Cape, 384 pp., £8.50, November 1981, 0 224 01602 4
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... got to it late. After the annals of sexual prowess, the annals of sexual infirmity. After Kinsey, Masters and Johnson – ‘it was around the clitoris that they made major discoveries.’ Sex is a problem because it is no longer supposed to be a problem. ‘Throughout history men have boasted of their conquests, and in liberated ages, women too,’ writes ...


Stuart Airlie, 17 November 1983

Medieval Germany and its Neighbours 900-1250 
by K.J. Leyser.
Hambledon, 302 pp., £18, February 1983, 0 907628 08 7
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The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians 751-987 
by Rosamond McKitterick.
Longman, 414 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 582 49005 7
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Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society: Studies presented to J.M. Wallace-Hadrill 
edited by Patrick Wormald, Donald Bullough and Roger Collins.
Blackwell, 345 pp., £27.50, September 1983, 0 631 12661 9
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... Saxon historian Widukind inclined him to think that the Saxons were descended from the soldiers of Alexander the Great. Similarly, some Franks fondly imagined that their people had a Trojan origin. Both Dr McKitterick and Mr Leyser endeavour to see past such images, delusions and sheer propaganda in order to reveal a truer picture of barbarian Europe. For Dr ...

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